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Jared Kushner vastly overstated Saudi arms deal in ‘amateur quality’ document: report

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The $110 billion arms deal touted by President Donald Trump as the basis for his strong ties to Saudi Arabia was inflated at the direction of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Two U.S. officials and three former White House officials confirmed that Kushner had pushed the State Department and Defense Department to use figures that were aspirational but unlikely, reported ABC News.

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Kushner, a White House senior adviser who is married to Ivanka Trump, reportedly hoped to score a victory for the president’s first foreign trip and symbolically ratify a new alliance with Saudi Arabia.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis supported his effort and endorsed the memorandum of intent, according to a former National Security Council official.

A defense strategy expert who has seen a copy said the letter of intent was “amateurish quality” and remarkably vague.

“It acknowledges it’s not binding,” said the expert, Michael O’Hanlon, of the Brookings Institute.

“It’s a multi-billion dollar transaction with three short lines of information as if that’s meaningful,” he added. “It’s like you’re taking notes on the back of a napkin over dinner. It’s not a contract. It’s the idea of putting all of these numbers in the interest for the biggest number you can find.”

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U.S. officials told Kushner the Saudis realistically had about $15 billion to spend on arms deals, but Kushner pushed NSC officials to “sell them as much as possible.”

“They were asking us to put as much pressure on the Saudis as we could [to buy American arms],” said one former NSC official. “It was definitely being pushed on the Pentagon people to see what was possible with the Saudis.”

Trump has cited the arms deal as a reason he sided with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is close to Kushner, in an investigation into his alleged order to assassinate journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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“These details raise even more questions about what is really driving the Trump administration’s refusal to crack down on Saudi Arabia’s behavior,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“If Jared Kushner inflated the size of this arms deal, we need to figure out why,” the lawmaker added. “Congress should get to the bottom of this and work to impose stronger sanctions on the Saudi regime, thoroughly review our relations with Riyadh, and cut off assistance for Saudi efforts in Yemen that have created a massive humanitarian crisis.”

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Pro-Trump reporter John Solomon attacks Fiona Hill for debunking his Ukraine conspiracy theories

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On Tuesday, National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified that the right-wing narrative Ukraine colluded with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election — rather than Russia working to help Donald Trump — is a "fictional narrative" and a piece of propaganda promoted by Russia.

One person was enraged at this testimony — John Solomon, the notorious right-wing reporter who covered Ukraine's supposed interference in the 2016 election extensively. He fired off multiple angry tweets attacking Fiona Hill:

How dare Fiona Hill question my patriotism or suggest I was part of a Russian disinformation campaign without a single fact. My sources were all US officials or Ukrainian officials aligned against Russia. Her accusations must have made Joe McCarthy smile up from hell.

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Democrats declare there’s enough evidence for a vote on impeaching Donald Trump: report

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On Thursday, according to CNN House Democrats are announcing that they have enough evidence to move forward with the final vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

Breaking: Dems say enough evidence to move forward on impeachment. Vote likely by mid-December. They will not wait for courts to force additional witnesses - @Phil_Mattingly reporting.

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 21, 2019

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Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani accuses Mike Pompeo’s State Department of obstruction of justice

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Keeping track of the Republican defenses of President Donald Trump got a little more difficult on Thursday when his private attorney appeared to throw his Secretary of State under the bus.

Rudy Giuliani suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may have committed obstruction by refusing visas to three Ukrainians the former New York City mayor wants to testify about conspiracy theories.

"The embassy in Ukraine refuses to give visas for three witnesses, two present prosecutors and the former Prosecutor General, who have direct evidence of major Dem corruption in Ukraine in 2016," Giuliani argued.

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